Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Empty Homes Equal Headaches for Communities & Trustees

Sun glaring overhead, Sheri Verstraete wiped the trickling sweat from her forehead and stepped into a jungle of grass and weeds that came to her waist. The house, a small one-level at 1221 Portland Ave. in Collinsville, needed some major clean up.

"I'm giving them 10 days," Verstraete said.

For Collinsville community service officers like Verstraete, keeping tabs on unkept yards in a city of around 25,000 people has always been a time-consuming job. But the housing market took a hit last year, and Verstraete noticed more and more empty homes with foreclosure notices. And more often than not, she could anticipate being back in a few weeks to cite them for high grass.

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